Employability – what it is and why you can’t afford to ignore it

What’s the key to success in getting your foot in the door?


The answer is employability, but what does this actually mean?

With an awareness of just how competitive the graduate job market is and a realisation that having a good degree is now not always enough to secure a job, students are asking this question.

george alston

What is Employability?

employability quote

Put simply, your employability depends on what you know (knowledge), what you do with what you know (skills) and how you approach things (attitude).

The CareerEDGE model breaks this down to five essential elements:

Career Development Learning

This is where we come in, as your Employability and Careers Centre we offer a wide variety of workshops, resources and advice to help you manage and develop your career now and in the future.


Work and life experiences that help you develop a broader range of skills are attractive for prospective employers.  Don’t forget to sign up for the Big Essex Award to get these experiences verified by the university and showcased on your HEAR.

Degree subject knowledge, understanding & skills

Don’t worry, as an Essex student you’ve got this covered!

Generic Skills

Often called ‘transferable skills’ these are skills that are developed in one context and are transferable into another, for example communication or organisational skills.  Follow this blog – we’ll be posting on identifying, articulating and evidencing your transferable skills soon.

Emotional Intelligence

This includes having empathy and well developed social skills and being able to motivate others.  It’s important in recruitment situations (where employers are often testing your ‘cultural fit’ to their organisation) and in developing effective working relationships.

3 reasons why you can’t afford to ignore Employability


Competitive Edge

Recruiters are looking for ‘work-ready’ graduates with job skills as well as a good degree so, to have the competitive advantage in the job market, you need to have developed your employability throughout your time at university.

Return on Investment

Ensure your money has been well spent and get a great return on the investment you’ve made in getting your degree.


Last but not least, in building your employability you’re also getting involved, benefiting from a well rounded education and hopefully having fun in the process.

Remember there’s no quick fix to becoming employable.  It’s not simply about ‘getting a job’ – it’s about ensuring your ongoing success, so drop in to have a chat about how we can help. Whatever stage you’re at.

Credit and thanks to MilkRound and the University of Edinburgh for the articles that informed and inspired this blog.

George Alston photo credit – LinkedIn



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